BIODEGRADABLE PLASTIC (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     22nd March 2024        
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Context: The Environment Ministry has introduced rules that make it harder for makers of disposable plastic ware to label such products as ’biodegradable’, introducing a stipulation that they must not leave any microplastics behind.

India’s Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2024

  • About: The new amendments to India's Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2024, broaden the definition of biodegradable plastics.

oBiodegradable plastics are now characterized not only by degradation in specific environments like soil or landfills but also by the absence of microplastics.

oFocus on Single-Use Plastic Ban: These amendments reflect a growing concern over single-use plastics, aiming to curb their proliferation and environmental impact.

oBy redefining biodegradable plastics, the regulations incentivize the use of materials that break down without leaving harmful residues.


  • About: It is defined as solid plastic particles insoluble in water and sized between 1 µm and 1,000 µm, pose significant environmental challenges.

oThey have emerged as a notable pollutant, particularly in water bodies such as rivers and oceans, threatening marine ecosystems and human health.

Biodegradable Plastic

  • About: Biodegradable plastics break down into harmless components like water, carbon dioxide, and biomass through the action of living organisms, primarily microbes.
  • Diverse Production Sources: These plastics can be derived from renewable raw materials, microorganisms, petrochemicals, or a combination of these sources, offering versatility in production methods.
  • Versatile Product Range: Biodegradable plastics find applications across various industries, showcasing their potential to replace traditional plastics in a wide array of products.
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